7 Things to Buy in Japan for Cute Bento Lunches

Japan is well known for its bento lunch ideas. Japanese mothers come up with the most creative ways to create pretty bento lunches for their children. To help mothers make the lunches effortlessly, a lot of gadgets are now sold to make the process easier. These gadgets would actually make a great souvenir for your friends back home!

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 Japanese mothers are well-known throughout the world for their dedication in making pretty bento lunches for their children. Some mothers take it to the next level by making Kyarabens, by shaping and moulding the food into cartoon or anime characters. The process is tedious and time-consuming but there are some gadgets out there that can help you make cute bento lunches without all the hassle. In this article, we will introduce some of those convenient gadgets to you and hopefully you'll try them at least once!. 

 1.Silicon cases


These silicon cases will compartmentalise your bento boxes for you and let you build your bento without compromising distinct flavours of different foods. One case for your meat dish, another for your vegetable dish. Their flavours won't get mixed up and you can then enjoy the flavours of both dishes. These cases can be washed and reused the next time, so you don't have to burn a hole in your wallet for your bento lunch making activities.   

 You can also use the cases to keep your cute Onigiris in shape and in place!

2.Bread embossers

Tatsuo Yamashita/Flickr

 Make your sandwich time a little more fun by embossing cute animal faces on to your sandwiches! This gadget also helps you cut your bread into small bite sizes, which works great for little children besides imprinting animal faces on to your bread. Children, who usually cause a fuss and do not like to finish up their meals, won't be able to resist these cute animal sandwiches. 

3.Shape cutters

These cutters will not only cut your vegetables, but also your ham, cheese, bread and cookie dough into hearts and ribbons. With a gadget like this, "I can never make cute bento lunches" is no longer a valid excuse! This is one gagdet that has helped a lot of Japanese mothers out there to make their bento lunches with no hassle. 

 Ham, hard-boiled eggs, or sliced vegetables in the shape of hearts or other shapes that are sprinkled on top of your rice or dishes, can transform your lunches into something extraordinary.  

You can also use this on your sandwiches. Cut the shapes out from the centre of one slice of the bread and spread jam on the other slice. When you put both slices together,  you can see the cut-out shape highlighted by the jam. Your sandwiches will look like a work of art and little children will love eating them. 

4. Seaweed cutter

 It is common for Japanese to wrap their onigiris with seaweed. These days, people take the time to decorate their onigiris with cut-out seaweed to form smileys. Of course before this gadget came out, some mothers actually did take the time out to cut these small shapes out but now these convenient cutters will help you reduce the time and effort to make smiling onigiris. 

 With this gadget, all you have to do is line a sheet of seaweed between it, and push the button down. It works like a hole puncher. Remove the cut-out shapes carefully and attach them onto your onigiris. Now you can easily enjoy smiling rice balls.  

 You can also use the cut out seaweed to decorate your cheese to make cute little snowmen too!

5. Colourful food picks

You can still make cute bento lunches without using cut-out shapes with these cute food picks. You can get creative and still create shapes and designs with just your ingredients and these food picks. In Japan, there are one million and one kinds of food picks out there for you to choose from animals, insects, fish, flags to ribbons. You can use the picks when you host parties too. 

One creative way to use the food pick is by attaching a cherry tomato on each leg of a leaf food pick to make the tomatoes look like sweet cherries. Children that do not fancy tomatoes would find these tomatoes appetising and might even take a bite out of them!

 Those leaf food picks can also transform cherry tomatoes into mini apples! Such simple gadgets can truly make bento lunches fun for both adults and children. 

6.Deli paper

 These printed deli paper make a really adorable hamburger and sandwich wrap. Besides making your food look cute, it helps prevents messy-finger situations. It is amazing that we can make food look presentable with such simple and easy to use gadgets. 

7.Lunch boxes

In Japan, you'll find a wide range of lunch boxes to cater to different needs and occasions. It would be impossible not to be able to find what you like or want. One of the most popular ones are the 2-tier lunch boxes. These lunch boxes gives you the compartments to separate savoury foods from your sweet desserts or fruits, or from your bread or dry ingredients to dishes with gravy. Once you have finished eating, since one tier is smaller than the other, you can keep the smaller one into the bigger one and reduce the fuss of bringing something bulky around.  

 You can also get simple lunch boxes at the 100 yen shops. Although they are not 2-tiered, but the insides have been compartmentalised to help you preserve the flavours of your ingredients fresh.  

Bonus:Thermos flasks

This is not exactly a gadget to help you create cute bento lunches, but it is a convenient one for those, who want to keep their lunches hot and delicious. These are thermal flasks for soups that will keep your soup hot for hours. It is great tool during winter to keep your risotto or pasta warm too. 

The simple gadgets above will give your bento lunches a make over effortlessly and your children will love eating them and even enjoy ingredients that they don't usually eat. Some mothers will hide vegetables or ingredients that their children usually do not fancy in unsuspected foods to make sure their children will eat them but Japanese mothers have decided to just make those ingredients look cute and pretty. As the trend of cute bento lunches grew, more and more convenient and creative gadgets started popping up. In other words, making bento lunches now is not that intimidating. 

It is easy now to make a cute bento lunch and you should try it at least once not only for your children to enjoy it but for you too!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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